Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DoD leadership updates Pentagon on COVID-19 testing capabilities

Image of Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne speaking, with Pentagon sign behind him Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne, the Defense Health Agency assistant director for Combat Support, joined other Department of Defense leaders to update media about DoD’s COVID-19 testing capabilities during a media presser at the Pentagon July 30. (DoD Photo by Marvin Lynchard)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Testing serves as a vital step in managing COVID-19-related risks to the military and the nation. Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne, the Defense Health Agency’s assistant director for Combat Support, joined other Department of Defense leaders to update media about DoD’s testing capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The officials briefed the media at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, July 30.

The Department of Defense created the COVID-19 Lab Testing Task Force in April 2020 to address screening, surveillance, and diagnostic testing of DoD personnel. DoD selected Payne to lead this effort. The collaborative Testing Task Force has made strides in testing efforts, certifying over 125 DoD labs around the globe that are capable of conducting more than 200,000 COVID-19 tests per week. DoD successfully conducted over 540,000 COVID-19 tests since January, currently completing 50,000 to 60,000 tests a week.

“This has been a coordinated achievement, together with the Joint Staff, the military departments, and the combatant commands,” Payne said. “We’ve all come together to solve this complex problem set.”

Weekly testing for active-duty service members also increased fivefold in the past three months. Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, Joint Staff surgeon, said confirmed cases in the military are still slightly below the U.S. average for most age groups. One exception is for the 18-24 age range. Friedrichs explained that this number results from increased testing of military recruits before and after basic training. Friedrichs praised the Testing Task Force and local commands for making these tests possible.

"We think that this is a reflection of our commitment to the [Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper's] first priority of reducing risk to the force and protecting them as they go through performing their duties to protect and defend our nation," Friedrichs said.

A part of keeping the force and civilians safe includes recognizing service members and patients who may be asymptomatic to COVID-19, but still have the antibodies. Patients who are pursuing elective surgery and active-duty service members are also screened for the disease. Some patients also volunteer to come to military medical treatment facilities to be screened for symptoms.

“The good thing about asymptomatic screening is that we are, in essence, screening the population, so we are finding people who don’t know that they have the disease. We’re isolating them. We’re doing contact tracing on those folks,” Payne said. “We’re doing that screening for mission readiness, but it also has the added benefit of reducing disease in the population.”

DoD continues to reduce risk by searching for new approaches to meet diagnostic testing demands. Payne shared goals to expand the number of available tests, innovate new technologies, and improve access to these testing mechanisms. New approaches include pooled testing and new technologies like point-of-care antigen tests and oral swab testing.

Payne noted that testing is only one part of the DoD’s risk reduction strategy. Public health measures like social distancing, restriction of movement for active-duty service members, and use of facial cloth coverings in public also play a role in managing risk.

“We are confident that the consistent use of broad spectrum risk reduction measures across the force are making and will continue to make a difference in controlling the spread of the virus,” Payne said.

Friedrichs agreed, stating that “both the individual and the collective commitment to those basic public health measures … while not necessarily high-tech, are incredibly effective. We are grateful for the support from everyone who’s embraced them in order to reduce risk to the force and to the mission.”

Payne acknowledged that the fight against COVID-19 is still not over. Public health guidance is updated regularly to reflect new information about the novel coronavirus. DoD continues to expand testing capabilities, with the MHS contributing through research, development, and medical care for service members and their families.

“We continue to learn new things about this disease each and every day,” Payne said, “but we are agile, and we adapt our strategy to protect our people. I am confident that we are doing everything we can … to enable commanders to keep their forces mission-ready, and to keep the DoD family safe and healthy.”

You also may be interested in...

In a COVID-19 world, pace yourself to stay resilient and avoid burnout

Article
3/26/2020
Kelly Blasko, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the lead for mobile health clinical integration at the Defense Health Agency Connected Health branch. She shares what providers can do to pace themselves and use self-care practices and tools to stay resilient and avoid burnout. (DoD photo by Savannah Blackstock)

Our response to COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Need for blood donations constant despite COVID-19

Article
3/26/2020
Medical soldiers from the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, host a blood drive at Fort Bliss, Texas. The need for donated blood is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King)

Limited shelf life, canceled blood drives threaten supply

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Nearly 10,000 Guardsmen called up for COVID-19 response

Article
3/25/2020
Army Sgt. Moises Castillo of the California Army National Guard helps an Amador County resident load food supplies into a vehicle at the Interfaith Food Bank in Jackson, Calif., March 23, 2020. (U.S. Army photo illustration by Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Eddie Siguenza)

The president left control of the National Guard to the governors and the adjutant generals

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

USNS Mercy departs San Diego

Article
3/24/2020
The hospital ship USNS Mercy navigates the San Diego channel March 23. Mercy deployed in support of the nation’s COVID-19 response efforts, and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense’s missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lasheba James)

Mercy's mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Civil Military Medicine | Civil Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD aims to fill medical gaps with military while states, cities ramp up

Article
3/24/2020
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon to discuss the department's efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, March 23, 2020. (DoD photo by Army Staff Sgt. Brandy Nicole Mejia)

The secretary sees the military filling gaps in cities, states until they can deal with COVID-19 on their own

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

A full night’s sleep could be the best defense against COVID-19

Article
3/23/2020
Sleep is critical for maintaining physical, cognitive and immunological dominance on and off the battlefield. Leaders must prioritize sleep as a valuable asset in maintaining readiness and resilience, especially in the context of multi-domain operations and increased health risks worldwide – including those risks associated with exposure to infectious diseases (U.S. Army photo by Robert Timmons)

Getting more sleep could dramatically improve your odds of avoiding infection

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness

Air Force takes steps to assure ‘unblinking’ operations, readiness and capabilities amid pandemic

Article
3/23/2020
Air Force medics and health personnel around the globe are resolutely following and ensuring compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg.

Within the Air Force, our medics are executing all available measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Addressing emotional responses to threat of Coronavirus

Article
3/20/2020
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kathleen A. Myhre, 446th Airman and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge, meditates outside the 446th Airlift Wing Headquarters building on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Feb. 12, 2020. Myhre traveled to India in 2016 to study to become an internationally-certified yoga instructor. She now shares her holistic training with Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mary A. Andom)

Even if you’re feeling healthy, medical professionals recommend staying home and limiting social contact as much as possible

Recommended Content:

Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Physical Fitness | Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Place addresses DHA COVID-19 response

Article
3/19/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, and Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, surgeon general of the Navy, discuss plans for additional COVID-19 response efforts with the Pentagon Press Corps.

Crisis Action Team part of broad-based effort

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD ready to help with Coronavirus, but capability limited

Article
3/17/2020
Misook Choe, a laboratory manager with the Emerging Infectious Disease branch at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., runs a test during research into a solution for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, March 3, 2020. The Emerging Infectious Diseases branch, established in 2018, has the explicit mission to survey, anticipate and counter the mounting threat of emerging infectious diseases of key importance to U.S. forces in the homeland and abroad. (U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Walters)

The DoD has only about 2% to 3% of the number of hospital beds that the private sector has

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

How DHA monitors the spread of health outbreaks

Article
3/13/2020
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch (AFHSB) is the central epidemiologic resource for the U.S. Armed Forces, conducting medical surveillance to protect those who serve our nation in uniform and allies who are critical to our national security interests. AFHSB provides timely, relevant, actionable and comprehensive health surveillance information to promote, maintain, and enhance the health of military and military-associated populations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

The Defense Health Agency works as a combat support agency to the military services and Military Health System

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD issues flexible instructions on response to Coronavirus

Article
3/13/2020
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (CDC Illustration)

The memo covers aspects from before the outbreak through all levels of infection

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

COVID-19: Know what the terms mean

Article
3/10/2020
Soldiers stationed on U.S. Army Garrison Casey conduct pre-screening processes on individuals awaiting entry to the base, USAG-Casey, Dongducheon, Republic of Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. Additional screening measures of a verbal questionnaire and temperature check are in response to the heighted awareness of Coronavirus (COVID-19) following a surge in cases throughout the Republic of Korea and are meant to help control the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the force. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

Learning the language can help you stay safe

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Article
3/6/2020
A Guardsmen with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion conducts translation work on a safety message regarding the best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus for the Washington Department of Health on Feb. 9, 2020 at the Information Operations Readiness Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Courtesy Photo)

Although news stories and images contain many reports of people wearing surgical masks to ward off the virus, that's not recommended

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD makes plans to combat Coronavirus

Article
3/4/2020
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak to reporters at the Pentagon, March 2, 2020. (DoD photo Lisa Ferdinando)

The number one priority remains to protect our forces and their families

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus
<< < ... 21 22 23 24 25  ... > >> 
Showing results 361 - 375 Page 25 of 26

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.